Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Working on my Spelling

PID (Production in Development) Picture
 So I was cleaning my basement one day when I came across a glowing red pentagram on the floor. As soon as I lay my eyes upon its eerie light a booming, layered voice pierced into my mind, speaking in ancient tongues never before heard by mortals, singing incantations as old as the moon and sky. Well, that's awfully peculiar, I thought. Of course, I did as any character in any horror movie would do, and walked straight toward the danger with no prior planning, leaving only my instincts and common sense in my wake. In the center of the pentagram, I found a small tablet. I thought it looked cool, so I took it. This is the story of that tablet.

Sadly, there's a plot twist. I don't have a basement. I'll tell you what I do have, though: a global awareness of art making. I think it's kind of apparent, really; the Aztec dragon, the viking and Anglo-Saxon text and designs, and the phoenix (which is a Greek myth, and even though it is doubtful that the Greeks drew phoenixes the way I did, Myths and fables are still art methinks). This art circumnavigates the world. Essentially, I wondered, hmm, what is magical? The answers I came up with dragons, phoenixes, and runes. I think that's pretty accurate.

Another thing I have is the development art-making skills. Firstly, I finally learned how to color paper with tissue paper pigment without making it look like a mess of bleeding colors and blobs. I don't know how I learned that, it was like I just inexplicably became a color-things-with-tissue-paper-expert. Weird. Speaking of tissue paper coloring, I discovered a whole new medium while procrastinating from the painting portion of the painting. In my boredom and laziness, I decided it might be fun to ball up some tissue paper and dip it in a bowl of water to see if it explodes or something. Sadly, it did not. Happily, I squeezed the paper and out dropped some sort of magical colored liquid. I discovered that this liquid had virtually the same properties as watercolor paint. I used it to color some of the rhomboids, and it worked very nicely.

And at last, I have is risk-taking abilities. This complete tablet was only completed by me compounding tasks one by one upon each other. So I came home one day with a wonderful piece of cardboard covered in newspaper. My plan was to color the newspaper with tissue paper and water. I soon learned that newspaper + water = a no-no. I saw that the paper absorbed so much water that it couldn't hold the pigment. I panicked for about five minutes, but then I had a brilliant idea: "Of course! I'll just take some printer paper and some scissors and cut it into A MILLION TINY RHOMBOIDS AND PASTE THEM IN OVERLY INTRICATE LAYERS OF PATTERS OVER THE PLACES I WANT TO COLOR. Several hours of cutting and pasting the evil shapes ensued. When I was finally finished, I let out a sigh of relief. I also burned the remaining diamonds, but that's not important. What was important was coloring this paper.  That wasn't necessarily a risk, but a soon learned that tissue paper + a layer of glue = absolutely nothing. The pigment refused to even touch the layer of glue, let alone absorb into the paper under it. But I'd gone through all this effort to color the paper, so I was determined. I scratched through most of the layer of glue with my fingernails over the next hour; I had managed to remove about 60% of it. I began to color the paper regardless of the spots that I missed and I found that the patches of glue assembled in to the splotches that lacked any color. Believe it or not, I actually created an equation I used to color through these splotches: 15n = g, where n is the number of sheets of tissue paper it takes to color a non-gluey area and g is the number of sheets of tissue paper it takes to color a gluey area. Even using the equation however, several of the splotches refused to be colored. I ended up just painting over them, which brings me to my next point; painting. The first thing I painted was the colorful orbs on either side of the tablet. The only risk here was that I had no prior planning whatsoever and totally winged it. And as with most of the things that I totally wing, this ended up being my favorite part. Next, I added the animals decorating the longer sides. The phoenix was wonderful to paint and turned out rather nicely, but I was concerned that the dragon would to fit in with the rest of the painting. I thought the green, a color only present in the dragon, would look out of place. But it was the only color that fit with the rest of the dragon which I had already painted, and I couldn't exactly remove the dragon at this point. It looks alright, I think. Perhaps something blue would have turned out better. The final thing I did was write all of the words/the spell in ink. I did quite a bit of googling for this one, as I unfortunately am not fluent in Anglo-Saxon. But Anglo-Saxon was not my only idea for the language of the spell. My original thought was Akkadian (which amusingly spell-checks into 'Canadian'), which was too much work because the Akkadian language is apparently made by insane desert people with styli. One needs only to look at their cuneiform to be discouraged from writing their cuneiform. I also tested on another sheet of paper Tibetan, Chinese, Elvish, Hebrew, Persian, Latin, Minoan, old Gaelic, some languages that I made up, and some others. The result ended up being Anglo-Saxon interlaced with runes interlaced with a sentence from one of my own languages (The circle-thing at the top is, indeed, a sentence from a language I designed when I was supposed to be taking notes for American History). It was a risk even putting the words in at all, as I was afraid the ink might not mix with the rest of the painting or that it was unnecessary to begin with, but again, I think it turned out well.

And here I leave, hands stained with ink and covered with glue, mind weary from so many innovative ideas,
and burned to the ground from the fire in my heart which ignited when glue pigment collided (or rather, didn't) with glue. My only wish is that the Tablet's next heir is more prepared than I. Perhaps I shall keep it for an eternity, then. Or perhaps it has alternate plans.

Monday, June 2, 2014

I call it "Fort under siege"

Work in progress
Work in art room

Work in workplace
   Sometimes I like to transfer my more ingenious ideas onto an illustration. This time, that idea was "Woah, if there was a giant thumbtack crashing into the roof of some sort of military base, it would be a base under a tack. Heh." and then I high-fived myself.

As far as artistic ideas go, I went with one of my old classics: taking risks. Here's the thing: the extent of my reasonably realistic looking paintings before I started this project was this tree and only this tree. I daresay that by painting at all I was taking a risk. But as if that isn't risky enough to satisfy any extreme sadistic art preferences, there were also several features of the painting that were risky. For one, the shadows. It is somewhat apparent that I struggled with them. I have concluded that the best course of action regarding this is to only draw on a quantum scale, where photons can tunnel through solid objects or exist in a particle-wave duality. My next painting will be of a carbon atom; it will symbolize life. Believe it or not, I already have a series of paintings of various atoms, but they are life-sized; that's the series's gimmick, you see. Anyway, the next challenge was probably the sky, which at first I thought would be simple. It's just a sky, after all. I've painted plenty of oxygen and nitrogen atoms before. But then I decided to make it all dramatic and orange and lighting foiled me again. I eventually just covered the rather jarring transition between yellow-green and blue with smoke trails and thumbtacks, which is a sentence I say every day. It also brings me to my third challenge: smoke trails. Honestly, I don't have a good idea of what smoke trails looked like. So I just sort of went with it and they turned out wonderfully. Smoking, even. The last issue I had was time. Now, I usually take a while to make art, and I don't think there has been a project so far that I haven't taken home to finish, but this painting was quite a stretch. I probably spent at least ten hours at my house slaving over a hot palette to bring this painting into creation. I have created a term to describe the feelings this ordeal produced within me: Imagopollexaclavumophobia, or the fear of creating pictures of thumbtacks. This is quite an unfortunate condition to have, especially because I see thumbtacks when I close my eyes. Every time I blink I have a small panic attack. Was it worth it? I ask myself when as a lay in my bed with my lights on, scared I may fall asleep and have my mind synthesize monstrous images of thumbtacks within my dreams. All the things I've seen during this project, the terrors I have survived. Am I better because of it? Perhaps, perhaps not. Alas, I may never know. And as I stare at the ceiling, thinking happy thoughts to mask the evil, multicolored, and somewhat sharp parts of my mind, I understand why so many have strayed from the path of creating images of thumbtacks. It is no easy road. Also, I nearly forgot one more risk I took: this is the first painting on which I painted a fancy signature on. Cursive is hard.

And another classic I used was creating original art. One thing I like doing in my art is putting a lot of cool things in them. Sunsets are cool. Mountains are cool. Airstrikes are cool. Smoke is cool most of the time. Military bases can be cool depending on whose military they belong to. My views of the coolness of thumbtacks has been distorted by my experiences with them. So I added all of these things onto the canvas and a cool painting emerged. I know this may seem radically uncanny, but the word "composition" never entered my mind in the two or three weeks it took me to make this painting. But hey, it's original, because everybody perceives coolness differently (unless it is my painting, which is universally cool). In fact, it's the best painting of a thumbtack airstrike on a military base in snowy mountains at a sunset that I've ever seen.

The last skill I used was a new one: developing art making skills. That's right, not just any skills, but skills that make art. The skills I used most were: Fine motor skills, ocular skills (unfortunately, this one doesn't positively develop much), pun synthesis skills, paint mixing skills, paint peeling skills, paint pouring skills, paint critical thinking skills, paint analyzing skills, paint reading comprehension skills, paint writing skills, and paint application skills. Indeed, I am well prepared for my painting exam. I developed particularly the skills that involved paint. Believe it or not, I did not bother to develop these skills prior to beginning my painting, but they mostly evolved during the painting itself. At the beginning, the paint was rather clunky and difficult to use. At the end of the painting, however, when the smell of acrylic paint was embedded in my nose and my sanity was at its lowest point, I felt like a relatively masterful painter; here I was, galavanting through the fields of paint and smoke trails, spitting out unto my subjects the most beautiful thumbtack mortal eyes have ever seen. I then collapsed, twitching, as I had not eaten or slept in days. Thumbtack is love, thumbtack is life. Then I died, but life is weird like that sometimes.